“The following reasons may be given why children ought to love Jesus Christ above things in the world.
He is more lovely in Himself. He is one that is greater and higher than all the kings of the earth, has more honor and majesty than they, and yet He is innately good and full of mercy and love.
There is no love so great and so wonderful as that which is in the heart of Christ. He is one that delights in mercy; He is ready to pity those that are in suffering and sorrowful circumstances; one that delights in the happiness of His creatures.
The love and grace that Christ has manifested does as much exceed all that which is in this world as the sun is brighter than a candle. Parents are often full of kindness towards their children, but that is no kindness like Jesus Christ’s.
And He is an infinitely holy One. He is God’s holy child, so holy and pure that the heavens are not pure in His sight, so that He is fairer than the sons of men, as the Psalmist says (Ps. 45:2). He is ‘the chiefest among ten thousand,’ (Cant. 5:10) and ‘altogether lovely’ (5:16).
Because of His glorious excellency, He is compared to the sun, that is the brightest of all things that we behold with our bodily eyes. ’Tis He that is called ‘the Sun of righteousness’ (Mal. 4:2).
So He is called the ‘morning star,’ the brightest of all the whole multitude of stars (Rev. 22:16). He is so lovely and excellent, that the angels in heaven do greatly love Him; their hearts overflow with love to Him, and they are continually, day and night without ceasing, praising him and giving Him glory.
Yea, He is so lovely a person, that God the Father infinitely delights in Him; He is his beloved Son, the brightness of His glory, whose beauty God continually sees with infinite delight, without ever being weary of beholding it. ‘I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him,’ (Prov. 8:30).
And if the angels and God himself love Him so much above all, surely children ought to love Him above all things in this world.
Everything that is lovely in God is in Him, and everything that is or can be lovely in any man is in Him: for He is man as well as God, and He is the holiest, meekest, most humble, and every way the most excellent man that ever was.
He is the delight of heaven. There is nothing in heaven, that glorious world, that is brighter and more amiable and lovely than Christ.
And this darling of heaven, by becoming man, became as a plant or flower springing out of the earth; and He is the most lovely flower that ever was seen in this world. (Cant. 2:1)—there ’tis said of Christ, ‘I am the rose of Sharon, and lily of the valleys.’
There is more good to be enjoyed in Him than in everything or all things in this world. He is not only an amiable, but an all-sufficient good.
There is enough in Him to answer all our wants and satisfy all our desires. Children, if they come to Christ and set their hearts on Him, will find that in Him that is better for them and will be sweeter to them than anything that is to had in the presence and company or provision of their parents, and better than anything that is to be found in their parents’ houses.
Christ has the bread of life in Him; their souls may feed and feast upon that which will be much better than anything they are ever entertained with at their fathers’ tables.
Christ is to those that love Him as glorious clothing and excellent ornaments to their souls. Those children that love Him, their souls are clothed with those robes that are a thousand times as beautiful and desirable than the best clothing their parents provide for them.
In Him they shall have that spiritual good which will be as gold tried in the fire, that will make them richer than if they were kings’ children.
Christ is the most suitable good for them. If they love Him, they will find Him sweeter to them than the honey and the honeycomb.
In Him they shall have enough, all that they desire. He will give them rest and satisfaction.”
–Jonathan Edwards, “Children Ought to Love the Lord Jesus Christ Above All, (Matthew 10:37),” Sermons and Discourses, 1739–1742 (ed. Harry S. Stout, Nathan O. Hatch, and Kyle P. Farley; vol. 22; The Works of Jonathan Edwards; New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2003), 22: 171–173.